The Call Up full movie review - Interesting premise that was poorly executed with bad CGI, acting and soundtrack
Since IMDb is filled now with fake reviews and comments about this movie I feel compelled to write my opinion, trying to balance the force a little.
I tried the movie with my kid, I got the title and was very intrigued that it's gonna be an Occulus 3.0 experience or something of the sort.
I gotta say this, because this is a review and I'm gonna be honest, the premise was good, the first act (the preparation) was solid but the director slipped through it's fingers some errors that are worth checking.
First of all, this is a movie about Gamers that somehow are living in a future earth, so, they have super advanced smartphones and cards with screens but they somehow have video games with pre-xbox360 graphics (despicted on the game-play from the screen of one of the character's home).
The movie proceed then to a nice first act in which we see the Gamers prepping for the game. The offices, the suits and the helmets were a nice touch and I must say they were a good fit to the movie (if not one of the strongest points).
BUT As soon as the actions starts (the first 10 minutes of VR) you kinda see what the rest of the movie will be like.
The scenery is EXTREMELY limited, the script is non-existent, the "missions" stops being missions and starts being just "walk and kill", not a single video game of this era will support this kind of nonsense gaming, they need to have a plausible argument.
In this movie, the director switches the argument for the character development, he places all the stereotypical ones, the shy girl, the psycho, the ego-maniac fat guy who lives in the basement, the.. you get the point. Not a single stereotype was missing, this.. was not a good starting point, to be honest.
Since the movie is all about them, we get lost in a sea of corridors, switching from room A to room B and then to Room C, but then you kinda get the point. There is NO room D ! The whole movie is filmed in no more than 3 rooms, and 1 or 2 corridors with very poor scenery, they even had the guts to film several scenes with the same rooms in the same angle !. IF you're going to film a movie with few rooms at least try to switch angles.
Tip to the director: YOU CAN make a good movie with no scenery at all, I know you know because this movie seems to follow the same progression as the movie THE CUBE. Yes, you can bet. Those who saw the movie will see the similarities.
The ending was good but again, too similar to the movie THE CUBE.
For anyone reading this review, if you somehow liked the premise and you still didn't know what THE CUBE is, go watch it and you'll be amazed, that's a serious SCI FI horror movie worth of your consideration.
This movie could of been so much better if they hired better actors, Morfydd Clark was the only one doing a good job, all the rest was mediocre, being the guy who acted as "the Sargent" one of the worse actors I ever seen in my life.
Finally, I would not dare to speak too much about the music because I do really believe that the musician is just incompetent. Trying to make a soundtrack about a VR video game with CASIO tone music from the 80's is only gonna make Gamers more angry at you.
Gamers are not dumb stereotypes like the ones in the movie, that listen to CASIO tone music, stuck in a basement and still playing 1995 games. The world has changed, video game industry has evolved to a point in which soundtracks are becoming an essential part of any video game. I've seen incredible soundtracks from games where the budget was 3 times less than budget movies so this is really not an excuse to make an horrible soundtrack.
Talking about FX on this one is like talking about how does a video game looked 5 years ago, because, seriously, the CGI was so bad that my Xbox can render better in-game graphics than some of the scenes of this movie, specially the "exteriors". They could be avoided and we should of get a much better product. Bad FX tend to somehow hurt a movie much more than it should.
Good movies could be made with almost no special effects and there are plenty of examples out there. As a rule of thumb, if you're not going to produce an acceptable FX, it's better not to do it and hide it, it's gonna be a much better overall execution than to do it badly, tons of directors did great things following this path.
All in all, the movie premise was good, the execution was really poor, all the middle is just expendable material and the ending is good but since it's almost a ripoff from THE CUBE and others, it doesn't create a rewarding experience.
The only redeeming factors of this movie are: the first minutes, the concept, some bits of the ending and the legs of Morfydd Clark on that amazing suit, that's it.
The movie is a solid 3/10 If you somehow are a fan of budget movies, there are WAY better movies out there. You can start by watching Kill Command for example.